How long do bloggers think lockdowns last?

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Cavesa
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Re: How long do bloggers think lockdowns last?

Postby Cavesa » Tue Jul 28, 2020 3:55 pm

lavengro wrote:...
Retreating now to a dark, deluded inefficient corner of my bat cave ....


Nobody was trying to ridicule you. I just don't get why the people in favour of duolingo tend to take any criticism for an attack.

I definitely agree that the idea of making learning more economically reachable is great, nobody disputes that. The people with a choice between nothing and Duolingo profit a lot from its existence. What is being criticised is more the approach to how it teaches, and what kind of marketing it does. And the very sad fact that instead of improving the product, the company is doing a lot of steps in the opposite direction.

galaxyrocker wrote:I'll be the first to say I think this is an unfair analogy. I think Duolingo's main problem stems entirely from one aspect: it's a for-profit company. Most of the issues I have with Duolingo, at least on terms of the business side, would be much easier solved if they were a non-profit that could get government grants to improve/really work on their courses, as well as donations and such. As it stands, it's a for-profit company and needs to make money while offering free stuff. This means Duolingo basically has to cater to the lowest common denominator on things, which is why there's practices such as emphasizing starting a lesson and gamifying it/making the courses easier. They need those people to come back so they can turn profit (which, last I heard, they have yet to do). But, because of that goal, they do a lot of things I don't agree with, including leading learners down the wrong view of language learning and how long it takes. Not that it can't be useful in some regards - if you like the style it can be great for review and vocab learning - but they push it as the end-all-be-all...And, it's also made it harder for other, better, paid programs to get off the ground as everyone compares them to Duolingo and says "Why aren't they free like Duolingo?"


I don't think the problem is being for profit, but rather not being clear about it. A part of the marketing is built on the idea of bringing learning resources to the poor, the main product being free, and so on. As a result, a part of the fanatic userbase really believes Duo is a poor start up trying to save the humankind, that can't be criticised. They are mistaking this very rich company earning millions on ads for something like the Language Transfer.

It is for profit, but it doesn't offer any valuable bonus to the paying members, that is another weird fact. Yes, the content needs to be free, if we are to stick to the original idea of Duolingo. But it would be absolutely normal to give the paying users more settings that they've been calling for, instead of doing the A/B tests on them. I'd even pay for Duolingo as soon as I am starting a new language (with a volunteer tree, not the professional one), if I could choose to do just full writing translation exercises 100% of the time. But with the dumb exercises, there is no value in it even for free in my eyes. Or the paying users could at least get better communication from Duo, more designs (as some of the Duo updates were for example making it unsuable for people with several sight conditions), and other such things. But no, Duo wants to fit you into their mold at all costs.

You're right that a non profit might be nice in some ways, but I'd be sceptical. There are some good reasons, why state paid and organised language learning products don't get as successful as Duolingo, and don't surpass it even in quality. A country never hires somebody bold to try a new path, they go to least original usual creators instead. Duo was a revolutionary learning tool, at least until it started catering to the lazy and caring more about ads views than learning.

rdearman wrote:I don't understand. Some people have put forward the case against, but you're not really putting forward the case for?
...
A robust discussion of the merits and faults of any method, software, textbook, etc. are the reason for the forum. It allows readers who come after to use the discussion to make more informed decisions about the methods, software and things they will use to learn.

Slinking back into a cave and withholding your views and experience doesn't help anyone. So come out and tell us how you use it, what benefits you get from using it, what types of learners benefit from it, etc..


Agreed 100%!!!

Deinonysus wrote:I guess I should throw in my 2¢ since this has turned into a Duolingo pro/con thread. I am a huge fan of Duolingo, and I think the reason is that I don't see it as a language course. I see it as a set of interactive writing drills where you can get instant feedback on full sentences. Unfortunately they took a lot of the typing functionality out of the app (which I haven't used in a while), but you can still type most answers if you use it in a browser instead of an app.

Exactly. That's what I used to like too. But Duo is no longer like that, there are fewer and fewer full sentence writing drills in the mix. That is one of the primary problems, in my opinion. You cannot type most answers even in the browser in some cases. It depends on your A/B version, the learnt language, etc. You don't get mostly full sentence writing even in the final review level.


When I use Duolingo for 30 minutes, I am typing in full sentences of the target language for at least half of the time. And I go through probably 5-10 times more sentences than Babbel, because Babbel is trying to throw all this other stuff at you and Duolingo doesn't care. And Duolingo has a TMTOWTDI ("there's more than one way to do it", pronouced like "Tim Toady") approach. If you type a valid translation for the text you're given, it will probably be accepted. If not, check the comments. Someone will probably have a good explanation of why it was accepted. And otherwise, you can report it. Not all courses are actively curated unfortunately, but many are.

That's a very good point. With only one catch: the new and professional courses often don't have the alternatives and are much slower at adding them than the old volunteer made versions.

I just need it to let me type a buttload of sentences and tell me when I get things wrong, and by golly, it does that and does it well.
Yes, that's what I used to love about it too. But then it started throwing tons of multiple choice, "listening practice", and other dumb worthless exercises on me. Right before I left, it was even testing a new waste of time exercise, I think it was about finding a mistake in a sentence. Everything in Duolingo that is not sentence typing is a waste of time, in my opinion.


Now, to address the original post of the thread, I personally have a very difficult time progressing in a language if I can't commit to at least an hour a day using at least two different resources. If someone is putting in 15 minutes a day on Duolingo or any other single resource, I am very skeptical that they would be able to make any progress and make it stick. But if they find that they are able to dedicate an hour a day and use multiple resources, then I think they will do very well and make a lot of progress.

Personally I have made a lot of progress in Spanish and Hebrew over the past several months because I was able to dedicate a good amount of extra time every day to studying. For the past few days I've been distracted and I'm treading water a bit, but I'm still finding at least half an hour a day to study.


A very good point. A curious question: how do you put the Duo and other sources combination together? Do you try to learn the same things in a coursebook and Duo in some way? Or you just use them independently?

This is one of the catches of the new and slower trees, I'd say. It is hard to use them alongside a coursebook, because 1.you are more and more handheld with the order of too tiny the lessons (so much that the new Italki ads on youtube take a language learning app for the most rigid resource possible. :-D ) 2.it progresses so slow that anything else is bound to be miles ahead of Duo very soon.
...............

I do not doubt there are also some values to Duo. It was the first of many and opened a new area of language learning tools. But now it overshadows everything else and more inovative. It was supposed to fully use the advantages of the digital world, and be more flexible than the paper based stuff. Instead, it has become the symbol of rigidity so much that even Italki makes fun of it in the ads. It was a good way to practice typing full sentences, focus on translation. Instead, it is more and more focusing on trash kinds of exercise (which are more about pretending you learn than learning) and dumb leagues.

It has opened the idea "yes, I can learn a language" to many people, that is great. But it has also damaged the idea of what language learning is, and lead many people to disappointment and the rest of us to being taken even less seriously. If you say you're a self teaching learner, you're being taken for a naive lazy beginner just playing with Duolingo. So much potential, but Duo has instead decided to go for as many ads views as possible.
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Re: How long do bloggers think lockdowns last?

Postby tarvos » Tue Jul 28, 2020 9:01 pm

It makes sense to go for ad views if you want revenue in this capitalist world. Did you expect Duolingo to be a non-profit?
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Re: How long do bloggers think lockdowns last?

Postby Deinonysus » Tue Jul 28, 2020 9:10 pm

Cavesa wrote:
Deinonysus wrote:I guess I should throw in my 2¢ since this has turned into a Duolingo pro/con thread. I am a huge fan of Duolingo, and I think the reason is that I don't see it as a language course. I see it as a set of interactive writing drills where you can get instant feedback on full sentences. Unfortunately they took a lot of the typing functionality out of the app (which I haven't used in a while), but you can still type most answers if you use it in a browser instead of an app.

Exactly. That's what I used to like too. But Duo is no longer like that, there are fewer and fewer full sentence writing drills in the mix. That is one of the primary problems, in my opinion. You cannot type most answers even in the browser in some cases. It depends on your A/B version, the learnt language, etc. You don't get mostly full sentence writing even in the final review level.


When I use Duolingo for 30 minutes, I am typing in full sentences of the target language for at least half of the time. And I go through probably 5-10 times more sentences than Babbel, because Babbel is trying to throw all this other stuff at you and Duolingo doesn't care. And Duolingo has a TMTOWTDI ("there's more than one way to do it", pronouced like "Tim Toady") approach. If you type a valid translation for the text you're given, it will probably be accepted. If not, check the comments. Someone will probably have a good explanation of why it was accepted. And otherwise, you can report it. Not all courses are actively curated unfortunately, but many are.

That's a very good point. With only one catch: the new and professional courses often don't have the alternatives and are much slower at adding them than the old volunteer made versions.

I just need it to let me type a buttload of sentences and tell me when I get things wrong, and by golly, it does that and does it well.
Yes, that's what I used to love about it too. But then it started throwing tons of multiple choice, "listening practice", and other dumb worthless exercises on me. Right before I left, it was even testing a new waste of time exercise, I think it was about finding a mistake in a sentence. Everything in Duolingo that is not sentence typing is a waste of time, in my opinion.


Now, to address the original post of the thread, I personally have a very difficult time progressing in a language if I can't commit to at least an hour a day using at least two different resources. If someone is putting in 15 minutes a day on Duolingo or any other single resource, I am very skeptical that they would be able to make any progress and make it stick. But if they find that they are able to dedicate an hour a day and use multiple resources, then I think they will do very well and make a lot of progress.

Personally I have made a lot of progress in Spanish and Hebrew over the past several months because I was able to dedicate a good amount of extra time every day to studying. For the past few days I've been distracted and I'm treading water a bit, but I'm still finding at least half an hour a day to study.


A very good point. A curious question: how do you put the Duo and other sources combination together? Do you try to learn the same things in a coursebook and Duo in some way? Or you just use them independently?

This is one of the catches of the new and slower trees, I'd say. It is hard to use them alongside a coursebook, because 1.you are more and more handheld with the order of too tiny the lessons (so much that the new Italki ads on youtube take a language learning app for the most rigid resource possible. :-D ) 2.it progresses so slow that anything else is bound to be miles ahead of Duo very soon.

Duolingo will generally allow you to do a lot of typing. You need to make sure that it is enabled, though. If it isn't letting you type at all, check under the word bank for a toggle button that says "keyboard".

I haven't used Duolingo in many months, so I did a few lessons to double-check:
  1. The first lesson of a new skill in Spanish
  2. The first lesson of a new skill in French
  3. A "restore" of a French skill I had already completed
Of those three lessons, #1 and #2 let me type the answer to every translation and listening comprehension question. In #3 I was able to type in my English translations, but unfortunately all of the French translations were multiple choice. I'm not sure at what level this goes away, but I hope it's early. That was not my experience the last time I was working on French, so it must be a relatively recent change if I'm remembering correctly.

I agree completely that every non-typing exercise is a waste of time. And yes, the professional teams are unfortunately very unresponsive. Contrast that to the Indonesian volunteer team that responded to dozens of my reports during the first few months of Beta. I was extremely impressed by their dedication.

My classic beginner resource combo is Duolingo for writing skills, Pimsleur for speaking skills, and Assimil for reading and listening skills and some grammar, plus children's books and newspaper headlines for extra reading practice and video news for extra listening practice. I started studying German about 6 years ago before I had discovered Assimil, so I relied on a combination of Duolingo lesson tips and a grammar book. Duolingo comments were also helpful in a lot of instances where I got a question wrong and didn't know why, and I would often use the comments as a starting point for researching new grammatical concepts.

I actually like Duolingo's slow pace. Doing a mind-numbing amount of drills lets the material sink into your bones. There's a big difference between being able to do something with some effort, and being able to do it instantly without thinking.
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Re: How long do bloggers think lockdowns last?

Postby golyplot » Tue Jul 28, 2020 9:17 pm

Cavesa wrote:One important question: "When did they use it?" I also used to like Duo as one component of learning. Five years ago, it was a nice small introduction to the basics. But about two years ago, it started changing a lot. The professionally made courses are hyperslow, the structure is more difficult to navigate for people just wanting to review something, the learning mechanisms have been worsened (fewer valuable exercises, more of the dumb ones that will make any learner feel good and click more often, much more focus on points, even more handholding as to the learning pace)


I'm a fan of Duolingo and think it gets unfairly bashed, and I'm still very frustrated with many of the changes they've made over time. You definitely have to go out of your way to use it properly now, and even that is becoming harder.
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Re: How long do bloggers think lockdowns last?

Postby Cavesa » Wed Jul 29, 2020 11:01 am

tarvos wrote:It makes sense to go for ad views if you want revenue in this capitalist world. Did you expect Duolingo to be a non-profit?


Not at all! I just didn't expect Duolingo to get so dumbed down to get more ad views.

I know that there are in general more dumb people than the clever ones, more lazy people, than those willing to put in the effort. It is just a bit sad to see that something supposedly meant to be a teaching tool caters to the worst quality "learners" so much at the expense of giving a real learning opportunity to those actually interested in it.
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Re: How long do bloggers think lockdowns last?

Postby tarvos » Wed Jul 29, 2020 12:14 pm

Cavesa wrote:
tarvos wrote:It makes sense to go for ad views if you want revenue in this capitalist world. Did you expect Duolingo to be a non-profit?


Not at all! I just didn't expect Duolingo to get so dumbed down to get more ad views.

I know that there are in general more dumb people than the clever ones, more lazy people, than those willing to put in the effort. It is just a bit sad to see that something supposedly meant to be a teaching tool caters to the worst quality "learners" so much at the expense of giving a real learning opportunity to those actually interested in it.


Duo needs to make money. They have a business model that needs to work in the modern world. Whether we like it or not, they are a not a non-profit organization funded by a national government or the United Nations that can do what they want in order to function. They're a commercial enterprise, and given our world is still a damning hotbed of neoliberal capitalism, that's what you'll get.

It's not surprising to see that Duolingo caters to the slowest learner. Every learning tool is designed such so that everyone can use it. If only a professional language learner (who? 3 highly skilled interpreters and a lost diplomat?) can use it, they simply don't have enough target audience. That's how that works. I can't blame them for that. Yeah, there's a lot of marketing bullshit around Duolingo. They've got a clever marketing team. I'm sure you know how marketing works. You've got to see through that. You can be angry at all the aggressive marketing campaigns, but are you really going to get angry that people want to sell things? Or did you expect Duolingo to barter? No, you didn't, and this is a world full of silly marketeers. I just ignore marketing and hit the "spam" filter in my mind. It doesn't reach me, I'm desensitized to it.

As for more dumb people - do dumb people not have a right to learn? The whole idea of education is that you teach people to be clever. I'm sure some people have more innate ability or desire to learn, but the role of a teacher is to foment that desire. I'm not sure we can do that by discouraging people that are "dumb". I've never in my life told a student that they are dumb and should give up studying a language, even though I don't think that all people are built equal. It's not my place to judge people, it's my place to offer these people a service and I'll do it the best I can. If they're slow or they have different goals, we can make that work. I think you always inherently connect more as a person to certain people that share a certain mindset and that's an inevitable process, but it's not something you should, as a rule, reward. Kindness is important, and it costs €0 to be kind. Remember - what you reap is what you sow. Be a bitter teacher, and you'll see bitterness in your students.

I reiterate - not everyone has the same abilities. But there should be education aimed at them too, and you cannot fault Duolingo for aiming at a broad spectrum of students. That's an unfair comparison to make. If it doesn't suit you or if the changes don't appeal to you, there is a whole world of ways out there you can achieve your personal goals. But don't take that out on other people who might want or need to learn a foreign language for their own reasons. They've got the same right to be there as you do and if they take longer, that's their problem. If you as a teacher can't deal with that, then maybe you should reframe your target audience. For a language like Spanish that's perfectly viable.

When there's a dearth of materials, like for Gaelic, things can get more testy, but that's the basic idea.
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Re: How long do bloggers think lockdowns last?

Postby ryanheise » Wed Jul 29, 2020 12:54 pm

If it weren't for Duolingo, perhaps the "lazy" learner would never have put any effort into languages at all.

And from Duolingo's perspective, they can make whatever product they want to make! So it's funny to me that some people care so much. A single product simply can't satisfy all market segments, and companies will always receive complaints from the other market segments that are not being served. But it is actually up to the company to say no to those other market segments in order to build a more cohesive and intuitive product for the target market.

Anyway, there are OTHER products out there in the world, aren't there? Just use the ones you like : - )
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Re: How long do bloggers think lockdowns last?

Postby Saim » Wed Jul 29, 2020 1:49 pm

tarvos wrote:Duo needs to make money. They have a business model that needs to work in the modern world. Whether we like it or not, they are a not a non-profit organization funded by a national government or the United Nations that can do what they want in order to function. They're a commercial enterprise, and given our world is still a damning hotbed of neoliberal capitalism, that's what you'll get.


Duolingo needs to make money, sure. The way it does this is by making a mediocre product with very aggressive marketing. As consumers we should be aware of this and let other consumers know. I don't feel any need to express solidarity with the position of Duolingo or its owner(s).

You can be angry at all the aggressive marketing campaigns, but are you really going to get angry that people want to sell things? Or did you expect Duolingo to barter? No, you didn't, and this is a world full of silly marketeers. I just ignore marketing and hit the "spam" filter in my mind. It doesn't reach me, I'm desensitized to it.


The problem with Duolingo's marketing is not that it makes people use Duolingo. The problem is that it encourages people to only use Duolingo for much longer than they can get any real benefit out of it. For this reason as discerning consumers and experienced language learners our duty is to let less informed consumers and less experienced language learners know how severely limited (and completely unusable in the case of the Japanese or Arabic course as far as I've heard) the product is despite the marketing.

As for more dumb people - do dumb people not have a right to learn?


Yes. I actually think people with less of a natural aptitude for languages or learning things will have more trouble getting any sort of benefit out of it, because they'll learn less per session (and the sessions are already excruciatingly slow) and it'll not be as easy for them to combine it with other, more effective materials or resources. In that sense it's better to get those people to focus on higher-yield activities that will give them real results rather than busy work that won't take them anywhere.

ryanheise wrote:If it weren't for Duolingo, perhaps the "lazy" learner would never have put any effort into languages at all.


Lazy language learners (or let's say people who aren't language enthusiasts and don't have a pressing need to learn a foreign language) by and large dabble in Duolingo for a while and don't go much further. Maybe they'll get a slight edge over other students if they also happen to be taking classes because they'll be doing more revision. Other than that I think most people who started learning Duolingo and then moved on to better things did that simply because of how famous and popular the platform is, and would have figured out their own path with or without Duolingo.

ryanheise wrote:Anyway, there are OTHER products out there in the world, aren't there? Just use the ones you like : - )


I use the products I like and critique the products I don't like. It's called a review.

I don't feel any need to not be negative about this product given:

    1) it's very famous and many people go to it as their first source
    2) the company actively promotes confusion about how language learning works and the company's marketing filters out into the broader online language learning community
    3) the company openly mocks minority languages by claiming that more people are ""learning"" them on their platform than actually speaks them
    4) it's ineffective, and no-one has any counter-argument to this other than "it's not worse than nothing"
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Re: How long do bloggers think lockdowns last?

Postby tarvos » Wed Jul 29, 2020 2:06 pm

I personally don't use Duolingo either. I don't think you get that if it were for me, Duolingo could lose all its income, because *I* haven't spent a cent on it. But there's a difference between a review and mindless bashing, which is what this thread is turning into.
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Re: How long do bloggers think lockdowns last?

Postby Cèid Donn » Wed Jul 29, 2020 2:31 pm

lavengro wrote:The Duolingo-bashing on this forum used to be based on the perspective that it was using and taking advantage of volunteers to the detriment of those language learning professionals trying to earn a living at teaching a language, then when it started using paid professionals the negative criticism appeared to be that it was forsaking its volunteers. "


I need to comment on this because Lavengro is glossing over some really important issues in Duolingo's history. And yes I am a former Duo user--I used Duo for around 6 years, starting a few months after its launch, and I completed several of the courses (and some of them multiple times).

First off, has Duolingo taken advantage of its volunteers? Yes, I think they have, although this argument wasn't about how they were screwing language professionals over, at least not most of the time. That may have been a popular argument here on this forum or HTLAL, but on Duolingo itself and other places, the main issue was that Duolingo, after it evolved beyond its humble beginnings and began to build their brand, they were promoting themselves and securing funding for various sources based on the work of unpaid volunteers that Duolingo had used to build their brand. A particularly egregious example was how Duolingo went around for photoshoots and PR events in Ireland to brag about how "popular" their Irish course, saying there were more people learning Irish on Duolingo than who spoke it in Ireland and yada yada, despite data that showed very few people who'd signed up were getting very far in it. You see, Duolingo never invested in the Irish course beyond using it for PR. That meant when users found the Irish course too difficult or confusing, or were demanding changes and other things, the Irish team didn't get the support they needed and not surprisingly, all of the Irish team either quit or disappeared. But hey, Duolingo got their photoshoot with Irish President Michael Higgins!

Anyhow, the larger ethical issue with Duolingo using volunteers has been mainly about how the level of skill as well as the time commitment that Duolingo has required of their volunteers seemed to many people deserving of some kind of compensation, because Duolingo was essentially asking highly skilled people to do the equivalent of a full-time job as volunteer work. Many volunteers over the years ended up not being able to do that for very long, hence why we saw so many courses that took years to complete or were languishing for eternity in the incubator due to a lack of qualified contributors who were willing do that amount of work for free. N.B. to get around this pitfall, Duolingo would learn to "fast-track" smaller courses to groups of people who didn't necessarily meet Duolingo's requirements, so we ended up with courses like the Navajo course that was more or less a school project done by high school students.

But under Duolingo's original practices, nearly all courses that were released into beta were either done by highly skilled people or people who really went the extra mile to put out a good course, and in either case it's reasonable to ask whether it's fair that they were not compensated for their work. This is especially true of the original volunteer French team. The original Duolingo French course ended up becoming one of the most popular courses ever on Duolingo that helped them grow as a company, and that was in large part due to the work of its highly qualified volunteers which included several experienced teachers and at least one with a PhD--all people who deserved to be paid yet here they were doing this work out the desire to help Duolingo create a good French course that was free to use. They had created a course that covered a lot of grammar, including more overlooked topics, and if I recall correctly, under went 3 major revisions under that volunteer team. Moreover, for years these volunteers contributed even more to Duolingo by moderating the Duolingo French forum and providing expert replies to users' questions. None of that additional work, as far as anyone publicaly knows, was ever compensated for despite it being a significant part of the success of that course.

Now about the shift from volunteer teams to paid staff: that didn't happen as result of Duolingo deciding they were big and successful enough that they could quell their critics and hire paid staff. That was the result of Duolingo securing a partnership with Pearson, which is a cursed name to vitrually anyone who works in education. This is the company behind a lot of standard testing and assessment testing, as well as prep resources for those tests. They are known to publish poor content with errors and inconsistencies that can render the materials unusable, but because they go around securing contracts with educational institutions (and often siphoning large amounts of funding for these institutions into their corporate pockets this way), the educators who end up having to use their materials often do not get a say in it. I hate having to use their products and I don't think I've ever met another teacher who felt differently. So yes, I'm pretty biased here.

When Duolingo got this Pearson partnership, one major change was that Pearson wanted to control the content on Duolingo that they were helping fund, because Pearson isn't anything if not proprietorial. That ultimately meant ousting the volunteer teams for the now-funded Pearson languages (mainly FIGS) and replacing them with staff under Pearson's approval. This is why one day the volunteer teams for the now-Pearson controlled language courses suddenly disappeared from the forum--from what one of the French volunteers said, we know they were unceremoniously told they could no longer contribute to the courses, that they would not be given any access to the new courses that had begun A/B testing and that they were not allowed to answer questions from users who were using the new course (I suspect that this is due to Pearson's corporate paranoia that any criticism about the new courses coming from the volunteers, who had the respect of the Duolingo community for their years of work, would cast Pearson in an unflattering light). After years of creating, maintaining, updating and moderating these courses, after all that work over 5-6 years, the volunteers were just shown the door, and it understandably upset a lot of long-time Duolingo users, myself included. (To add insult to injury, Duolingo asked a couple of long-time members of the volunteer French team to republish all their extremely good notes from the original course in the forum for reference--a seeming admission that they were leaving users to fend for themselves in regards to any questions they might have. This was around when I just gave up and quit Duolingo so I do not know what has happened with the forum situation since.)

Additionally, in true Pearson fashion, the new courses rolled out with a lot of errors and other things that users found confusing or frustrating. While Pearson paid for staff to create the new courses, there was no one in the forums helping the users anymore and that contributed to confusion, criticism and bad feelings many people had toward the change from volunteers to paid staff, which is completely reasonable in my opinion. A lot of users were hung out to dry with either poorer content than what they were used to, or with content that did not measure up to their expectations build up by Duolingo's advertised brand--a brand that was built on volunteers' work and not the work of the newer staff.

So you see, there are some really good reasons to be critical of Duolingo that have nothing to do with the actual courses yet might be important in one's decision to use Duolingo, depending on how you feel about these things. As for the courses themselves, in my experience the quality of individual courses varied so much that it's hard for me to give anyone a lump judgement on whether Duolingo as a learning resource is good or bad. The Welsh course is very good and will give you a good foundation in colloquial Welsh. The Swedish and Indonesian courses, despite not being perfect, are definitely worth your time as well. Some of the other courses--like the Irish, Russian and Japanese courses--have big problems but that doesn't necessarily mean they are devoid of any value. On the other hand, I personally was very disappointed in the new staff-made courses for French, Spanish and German. They were such a huge step-down from what I was used to that, in addition to the changes to the scoring and the layout that I wasn't thrilled with either, I just needed to stop using Duolingo completely at that point and move on. Do I feel that I gave up something essential or irreplaceable to my studies when I quit Duolingo? No. I'm mostly glad for the time I spent on Duolingo, but I don't miss it. So if you get something out of Duolingo, great, but I don't think anyone should feel they're missing out if they don't use it.

I think it is this forum rather than the Duolingo community that has become the beneficiary of that toxicity.


Dude, I'm really sympathetic to you here but may I remind you that you once passive-aggressively PM'd me over a typo in one of my posts here, something that I felt was so toxic that I still remember it despite it being seemingly trivial and was one of the several microaggressions I've experienced at this forum that influenced my choice to stop keeping a log here. Be careful about pointing fingers.
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